Kroger Co. said Friday that its Byrne Road store, which is part of the Southland Shopping Center, will close Aug. 14 because of declining profits at the location that it acquired more than a decade ago with the demise of the former Food Town chain.
Cincinnati-based Kroger added that the fuel station at the location also will close on the same date.
The decision by Kroger to close the Byrne Road store was not seen as a huge surprise by local retail experts, who noted the store’s relatively small footprint and proximity to newer and larger stores did not fit well with the grocer’s current business model.
“Closing a store is always a difficult decision. Unfortunately, despite a number of investments in the store over the past years, and our store team’s best efforts, we continued to see profits steadily decline at the Byrne Road store. After the first quarter of this year, it was decided to end operations at this location,” said Bill Green, vice president of operations for Kroger’s Columbus Division.
The Toledo market is part of Kroger’s Columbus Division.
Kroger took over the Byrne Road store from Food Town in 2003 as part of a deal that saw Kroger purchase three Food Town super markets from Spartan Stores Inc. The other Toledo store in that deal, at 5201 Suder Ave., closed in 2005 following Kroger’s construction of a larger store about a mile to the south near Ottawa River Road.
Kroger said the Byrne Road store has about 115 employees, all of whom will be offered positions at other Toledo-area Kroger stores.
Duke Wheeler, a retail specialist with the commercial real estate firm the Reichle Klein Group, said losing an anchor tenant like a grocery store is never good for a shopping center, but he doesn’t think the future of the Southland Shopping Center is necessarily imperiled by the move.
“I do think it’s good real estate and I do think there will be interest from other similar operators. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to back-fill this space but I think at some point it will be re-tenanted,” Mr. Wheeler said.
Kroger’s closest store to the soon-to-be closed location is about a mile away at 2555 Glendale Ave. at Detroit Avenue. Kroger also operates a much larger Marketplace store about five miles away in Holland.
“Our customers can rest assured that we will continue to provide fresh products and friendly service throughout the shutdown process,” Mr. Green said. “We look forward to continuing to serve our customers at one of our many nearby locations.”
Kroger says it has invested more than $23.5 million in its Toledo stores since 2010. After the closure, Kroger will operate 14 stores in the immediate Toledo area.
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